A proliferation of Uber and Lyft drivers trawling for passengers has exacerbated traffic congestion in Manhattan, leading New York City officials to consider new fees on for-hire services as part of a mitigation strategy, the New York Times reported December 26, 2017.
In 2013, about 47,000 for-hire vehicles operated in the city, mostly taxis and limousines. Today that number is 103,000, including 68,000 ride-sharing vehicles, primarily affiliated with Uber and Lyft.
A recent report found that ride-sharing vehicles often can be found driving around city streets with no passengers as they wait for calls. Ride-share vehicles average 11 minutes between fares, compared to eight minutes for taxis, according to the report. At any given time, one-third of these vehicles are unoccupied.
The added traffic has slowed traffic in the city to an average speed of 4.7 miles per hour, down from 6.5 miles per hour in 2012.
New York officials are considering adding a per-passenger fee as part of an anti-congestion plan; the proceeds would be used, in part, to bolster subway services in the city. Chicago, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon, have similar fees in place.